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Listen to “James & Deborah Fallows on ‘Our Towns’: a Craftsmanship Artisan Interview”

This husband-and-wife journalism team spent four years crisscrossing the United States in a small plane, visiting dozens of small towns. The stories they found were surprising—and entirely contrary to the narrative we’ve all read about in the news. They saw  communities engaged in a vigorous process of economic renewal—a stunning portrait, in sum, of an…

Listen to “The Architecture of Trust”

With only a quick glance at today’s overheated political climate—the balkanized geography between red and blue states, the bombastic former president, the strident social media culture, all culminating in the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol—you get an unmistakable message: We don’t know how to talk with each other anymore, let alone build common ground.…

The Architecture of Trust

With only a quick glance at today’s overheated political climate—the balkanized geography between red and blue states, the bombastic outgoing president, the strident social media culture, all culminating in the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol—you get an unmistakable message: We don’t know how to talk with each other anymore, let alone build common ground. An expert in linguistics explores our new argumentative culture to find ways that Americans of different beliefs can start believing in each other again.

By MICHAEL ERARD

The Art of the Joke

When you watch masterful stand-up comics perform, it seems like they are just naturally hilarious. Don’t kid yourself. This is hard work, requiring hours and hours of trial and error. To its masters, the art of comedy is a craft, not unlike the careful, step-by-step work required to make a fine piece of furniture.

By DAVID MUNRO

The Watchman of Lausanne

Every night for the last 612 years, a man has been climbing 153 stone steps of Lausanne’s cathedral to call out the hour, telling the city that all is well. For the last 28 years, this ritual has fallen to Renato Häusler. “Here it is good values,” he says. “Wood, stone, history – nothing complicated.”

By MICHAEL CERVIN

Respectful Political Conversations: A Resource Guide

While today’s divisive political climate can certainly feel discouraging, the good news is that it has spawned a fertile variety of projects that aim to make discussion of the day’s issues more civil, more informed, and (one hopes) more productive. Here are the main players on the stage at the moment: One of the early…

Getting Serious about Play: A Resource Guide

While school officials in the U.S. seem to have done their best in recent decades to eliminate play from the school day, things might be turning around: innovative projects like Providence PlayCorps continue to push back against that cultural shift. An example of families playing together include the now well-known Maker Faires, held in cities…

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